Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Transforming the Energy Picture

Listen to the audio interview with Lee Fisher:


Renewable energy production (from sources such as wind, solar, hydro, biomass, and geothermal) is coming on strong and mainstream for both utilities and smaller applications such as homes, neighborhoods, farms and ranches. Traditional power generation (from sources such as coal, gas, and nuclear) will be an important component for our baseline energy production for many years, but forward-thinking states are adopting (or increasing) Renewable Portfolio Standards (requirements to achieve specified amounts or percentages of power from renewable sources by particular dates).

Texas is host to the annual WINDPOWER 2008 conference this week. Everything in Texas is big and this conference is no exception with over 10,000 attendees and over 750 exhibitors. As we seek to transform Texas into the new energy capital of the world, it takes a number of different constituencies coming together to transition from the traditional ways we have been creating and delivering power.

Ohio’s Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher came to the conference to talk about the lessons they learned in passing their recent Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard, and the challenges and opportunities they face in implementing the legislation through their Public Utilities Commission.

To build consensus across multiple groups for this initiative, Fisher said the state leaders “built a very powerful coalition made up of those in the environmental and renewable energy sectors, the manufacturing sector, and small business, as well as labor.” He said that “developing the broad based coalition at the outset ” and “keeping the coalition together by regular communication” was a key component to getting the legislation passed. He also noted there was bipartisan support in the legislature, and it “couldn’t have been done without a bipartisan consensus.” One of the challenges they now face is to track and make sure the “benchmarks have teeth and are enforced.”

These initiatives bring more jobs, too. Fisher noted their “manufacturing and agricultural base, combined with their strategic location and well-built infrastructure” gives them “home court advantage when it comes to growing and attracting a renewable energy industry.”

When we bring new energy companies to Texas, it creates jobs and increases our economic diversity. At the city, county, regional, and state level, we can work together to improve our energy situation, ensuring reliable availability and affordable pricing. But, our elected leaders need to hear from us, and our government bodies need to know this is important to us.

Start local, get involved, meet with your community leaders, and start talking about how we can bring new jobs and new companies, to our region. Get to know your legislators, find out where they stand on developing renewable energy, and encourage them to bring more supportive and actionable legislation into the light of day.


Houston tech scene now owns The Planet

The Planet

According to, The Planet is taking up residency in Bayou Place, square in the heart of downtown. Straight from their blog, they plan to go head to head in competing with Silicon Valley for new tech business. Their recent donation of $25000 to the Houston Technology Center is an awesome step in that direction. It’s exciting to see the tech industry growing here in H-Town.

BarCamp Houston II

Get your geek on bigger and better than ever. The second BarCamp Houston kicks off Saturday the 25th and it is a veritable who’s who of Houston area technologists. Those of you who joined me at BarCamp Houston last year might be shocked to hear that as of this blog post there are 144 attendees signed up and growing.

For a complete wiki on what a BarCamp is click here

As far as the details of Saturdays event:
Date: August 25, 2007
Time: 9:00 A.M.
Location: Houston Technology Center
Cost: Always free!
Format: Presentations, development projects, and demos
Estimated Attendance: 150

Sign up and if you attend, make sure you pull me aside to say “Howdy!”

Get your TWEET on!

logo-twitter.jpgAre you on Twitter and in Houston? Join the Facebook Houston Twitterites Group and then come out for the 2nd meeting of the group

Event Info
Name: 2nd Twitter Meet-up
Tagline: Come tell us what you’re doing, but in person.
Host: Houston Twitterites

Time and Place
Date: Saturday, August 11, 2007
Time: 12:00am – 2:00pm
Location: Freebirds @ Shephard
City/Town: Houston, TX

Oh and go ahead and sign up to get my Tweets. :)

iPhone iPhone iPhone iPhone!!!!!


Okay gadget geeks, so you obviously know that the iPhone is being released tomorrow (June 29th at 6pm). Perhaps you have no life and are already standing in line, which means you are most likely not reading this and I am very jealous of you.

Or perhaps you are sitting in front of your computer wistfully daydreaming about bringing home your own happy handheld – in which case, you should definitely keep an eye on this iPhone availability chart which will keep you posted as to what Houston Apple stores have iPhones.

You can also hook up with local iPhone workshops to learn how to get the most out of your new little iPhone friend. Sick of it all already? You can vent your iPhone fatigue with local tech guru Dwight Silverman on the Chronicle tech blog.

Houston Forming an Internet Bubble?


Lately, there has been a lot of discussions about the possibility of expanding wi-fi transmitters throughout the city so that Internet access is available at any given time, from any given place.

ABC 13 has a good article here.

I always end up at wi-fi spots all over city…from the University of Houston parking lots to the Montrose coffee shops to the Continental Lounge at IAH. Where do you go to get your wi-fi on?

Picture originally uploaded by moaan.

Houston WiFi on the way with Earthlink

The City of Houston selected EarthLink as the WiFi service provider for the Houston wireless broadband network – an ambitious project covering 600 square miles, which may be the largest in the United States.

Earthlink will sell network access to other ISPs for $12/month, which will get to consumers at around $15-20-ish. Dwight Silverman has some good points on the reliability and speed of the WiFi connection and whether its worth that money. I say it is.

It’s really about time we got this into gear – I think that it makes Houston look more attractive to incoming businesses and I, of course, just plain crave constant Internet connectivity. We won’t get to enjoy that fresh WiFi feel until 2009, but at least it’s finally coming… Here’s an FAQ from the Chronicle on what the wireless network will mean for you.

What are your thoughts?

Politics and technology meetup – drinking beer with the League of Technical Voters 2/13

Quick poll!!! Do you: a) vote b) care about the future of politics c) love technology d) like free beer?

If you answered yes to any of the above, then you should hook up with us at the Houston NetSquared meetup on 7pm Tuesday, February 13th at the Stag’s Head Pub and chat with Silona Bonewald of the League of Technical Voters!

I know there are some Metblog readers with a political bent, so this might be a really good discussion for you to join. The League of Technical Voters is basically trying to change the future of policymaking by connecting lawmakers and voters with technology to keep everyone informed, motivated and action-oriented.

Surely you have an opinion on this – so come and share it… and drink some beer. Accessibility technology guru Sharron Rush from Austin’s Knowbility group will also be there to touch on other technology issues. Good times.

Houston Public Library wants to rock your earphones


Cool Houston Library service that I never knew about (quote and image via Aaron at LongStation):

“Here is an “underpublicized gem” that Houston residents can enjoy (please check your local area for availability). The Houston Public Library offers a huge collection of Downloadable Audiobooks for easy access with your current library card. Here are the details:

* Your HPL PowerCard is required to download the audiobooks.
* The audiobook files are in Windows Media Audio format (WMA).
* Checkout period is 3 weeks.
* Users can check out 6 titles at a time.
* To listen, download the Audiobook to your PC and use your audio player.”

I know this isn’t really new news for most of you, but I am really stoked. Especially about the Pimsleur Language programs they have – I’m a big fan of the series, but not of the hundreds of dollars you have to shell out to buy them retail.

It’s been said before, but it bears worth repeating – the library rocks!!

Google Maps Mobile adds live Houston Traffic Conditions


For those of you with internet access on your cellphones, Google Maps Mobile has just added live traffic conditions to help us navigate the mess or at least know what we’re getting ourselves into when we walk out the door on a given morning. Just point your cellphone browser to and hit “7” to turn on the traffic data.

If you don’t have internet access on your cellphone, like me, then you can live vicariously through the live demo on the Google website or just assume the worst.

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